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When's the Best Time to Buy Travel Insurance?

when to buy travel insurance
Allianz - when to buy travel insurance

You know when you’re booking a flight or a travel package and that little checkbox appears? Add flight insurance now, it might say, or Don’t forget about travel protection!

You freeze. Should you buy it right now? What happens if you wait? Will it be too late?

Relax. You don’t have to buy travel insurance in the middle of the booking process. You certainly can, if you just need to insure something simple, like a flight or a weekend getaway. But if you’re planning a big trip, it’s okay to wait until you’ve nailed down all the details. Here’s our advice for when to buy travel insurance for your next trip.

The best time to buy travel insurance is immediately after you’ve completed your travel arrangements.

Let’s say you’re planning a Rhine river cruise to see the famous Christmas markets of Germany and France. You’ll need to book the cruise itself, any excursions you plan to take, your airfare and your hotel for two extra days in Zurich, post-cruise. Once you’ve gotten all those arrangements nailed down, you’ll know your total pre-paid trip costs—and that’s the perfect time to purchase travel insurance.

Why? You need to know your total costs to get an accurate quote, if you’re purchasing travel insurance with trip cancellation/trip interruption benefits. That way, your entire travel investment can be protected.

It’s smart to buy travel insurance immediately after booking for two reasons. One: You won’t forget! Far too many travelers postpone buying travel insurance and then realize, too late, that they forgot to buy it at all.

And two: The earlier you buy insurance, the bigger your coverage window. Trip cancellation benefits begin on your plan’s effective date, as long as we receive your premium before you cancel your trip or make a claim. (If you buy travel insurance online, the effective date is the day after we receive your order.) The earlier you purchase insurance, the sooner you’ll be protected.

So if you’ve already made all your travel arrangements, don’t delay! Get a quote for travel insurance right now.

The second best time to buy travel insurance is within 14 days of making your first trip payment.

The 14-day mark is significant when you’re buying travel insurance, because it’s the cutoff point for the existing medical condition benefit. Many of our plans include this benefit, which means that you, a traveling companion or family member can have an existing medical condition and still be eligible for all applicable benefits and assistance services. You must, however, meet certain requirements:

  • You must purchase your plan within 14 days of making your first trip payment or first trip deposit.
  • You must purchase trip cancellation coverage that covers the full cost of all your non-refundable trip arrangements.
  • You must be a U.S. resident and medically able to travel on the day you purchase the plan.
  • The total cost of your trip must not exceed the maximum cost specified by your plan.
  • All other stated terms and conditions are met.

Wait—what if you haven’t figured out your entire trip cost within 14 days of making your first trip deposit? It’s okay! Just don’t delay. Go ahead and purchase travel insurance within that 14-day window, making sure you select a plan with the existing medical condition benefit. (Those plans are listed here.) As soon as your travel arrangements are finalized, you can update your plan with your final trip costs, either online (under Manage Your Policy) or by calling us.

The third best time to buy travel insurance is any time before you depart.

With all the stress and excitement of planning your trip, you completely forgot to insure it. Now it’s 10 p.m. the night before departure, and you’re wondering, “How late can I buy travel insurance? Is it even worth doing now?”

You know that old saying: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” It applies to travel insurance too. Even if you’re about to leave for your trip, it’s better to buy insurance late than not have it at all. Go ahead and get a quote to see your options for protecting your trip. While trip cancellation/interruption benefits may not be useful to you now, benefits such as baggage loss/damage, baggage delay, travel delay and emergency medical can give you crucial protection for your trip.

The worst time to buy travel insurance is after something bad has already happened.

You’re happily gallivanting around Portugal when you stumble in a vineyard and fracture your ankle. Uh-oh. If you’d purchased travel insurance with emergency medical benefits, you could have avoided paying the Portuguese hospital bills out of pocket. If you’d purchased travel insurance with trip interruption benefits, it could have reimbursed you for the unused portion of your trip, as well as for the cost of the plane ticket to return home early. But you didn’t. Is it too late to buy travel insurance now?

Unfortunately, it is. Travel insurance is designed to protect a traveler from certain unforeseeable events—not things that are easily foreseeable, or things that have already happened at the time you purchase your plan. That’s why it’s smart to buy insurance as early as possible in the booking process. If you’re taking more than one trip this year, you can make life easier by purchasing an AllTrips multi-trip plan. Find the best plan for your next trip!

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